Every year, cigarettes take 87,000 Filipino lives. That’s more than the amount of deaths caused by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. This is why for this year’s No Smoking Month, the DOH is developing a hotline called National Quitline for struggling cigarette quitters. Since the signing of the Executive Order for an extended cigarette ban, the Department of Health has been readying itself to assist those about to go through quitting withdrawals. The immediacy of cravings can only be countered by something just as direct – a service hotline specifically for smokers.
The Plans of Execution
The department intends to display the hotline numbers in public areas and conveyances. M-Cessation, a smoking cessation app, is to be launched as well. The hotline and app would refer the user to the nearest service facility for quitters. The Quitline aims to provide personal counselling and materials on cigarette quitting to further assist the caller.
More In-depth Services
DOH intends to give an rounded approach to smoker recovery. The department will conduct replacement therapy for those who can’t go ‘cold turkey’ and immediately let go of their smoking habits. DOH Secretary Ubial stated during a press conference that “when we talk about services, we also offer pharmaceuticals. There are alternatives like patches or even candies and replacement therapy.”
Revised Clinical Guidelines
More accessible quitting services is the goal of this project. Hospitals and communities are to be provided with improved guidelines on smoking cessation. Dr Maricar Limpin, the executive director of Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance (FCTC) Philippines, said that the DOH and the Philippine College of Chest Physician are in collaboration to create a more comprehensive clinical practice guideline for the healthcare professionals.
Secretary Ubial later said that the department hopes “to provide easy access to cessation services in all hospitals, health centers and even in community and school facilities.” They are optimistic that these steps would someday decrease the number of cigarette-related deaths that has long gripped our country.